Howdy Sportsfans. I hope all is well in your corner of the Planet. Here is a little creative writing from mine.
Quiet on the Brule is what winter is all about. The valley is as still as a tomb, especially during the long star-sparkling nights. The big woods absorb everything into their depths and endless folds of snow. Humans are never so tiny as they are beneath the dark Solstice. Silence is broken only in the coldest pop of sap snapping in the deep chill.
Perspective is changed in a stark contrast of extremes. Blue is epic in a post-frontal high, cold and contrasting with evergreen, the only other piece of the spectrum to actually survive.
Signs are telltale in the fresh snow after a squall. The mice patter across the white surface tracing tiny trails between life-and-death hideouts. Grouse do their grousy thing leaving strutty little marks among the balsams — and sometimes amazing dive-bomb holes with no tracks at all leading to them.
Deer tracks wander from deep cedar glades to high south facing slopes. Backtracking their routes gives endless insight, and fresh tracking forward is always a delight. A fleeting gray glimpse often is the reward, but a close-up encounter can be another if patience and stealth are practiced.
Furbearers abound. Weasels and foxes and wild cats too. Muskrats and otters, wolves and coyotes, even an odd black bear all leave their signs. On a great day, an explorer can cross paths with all hairy citizens of the Valley without glimpsing another warm-blooded two-legged soul.
Jays and chickadees get busy with their things — as do the nuthatches with their butts nearly always up, hopping about on boreal bark. Ravens and crows are about but which one is which can be the puzzle of the day.
Snowshoe hare and cottontail bunnies along with the pine squirrel are common and active. Some days they notice you and at times they don't; comforting partners in the lonely big woods.
The eagle and the hawk and an owl or two keep watch on the woods’ smaller citizens and keep everyone honest. Raptor screeches and hoot hooting must be as chilling to the wee critters as the timber wolf howling is to us larger meat pieces.
The trickle of spring water when it occurs is loud music in the quiet season, a pure sound of life renewed only matched by a new taste on the tongue. Never has anything so empty been so full of goodness.
The quality of light is never quite so prime as it is in the ever clear air of winter. The lack of pungent earth smell highlights the purity of nothing at all — just as the void of silence can bombard the eardrums.
Only in winter do all these sensations meet so compellingly, and I revel in the fleeting loneliness of it all. There is nothing to rival winter here, this quietest of times in this remarkable place we know as Brule.